In November 2019 Better Chances, a house prize draw site, launched and offered entrants the chance to win a three bedroom property in Borehamwood. Tickets cost £11 but despite running for almost a year only managed to sell 1200 tickets. This represented just 10% of their target and as a result a 50% cash prize was awarded. Surprisingly the owners of the site decided to try again and Better Chances 2 was launched in September 2020.
Second Competition – Same Result
Given that only 1200 tickets were sold at £11 the first time round we at least expected things to be a little bit different. After the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results. Well Better Chances did do the same thing over again and whilst some house raffles have successfully sold 1000s of tickets the second competition closed on the 16th September 2021 with apparently just 500 ticket sales. The winner was named as Sandy Chamberlain who won £2749. More on that in a moment.
How Many Tickets Sold?
According to the Better Chances website a cash prize representing 50% refers to all entry fees received but excludes the payment processing fee. So from an £11 ticket, £1 will be retained for payment processing. If £2749 is 50% then that means £5498 was received in payments. That suggests that 549.8 tickets were sold – why this number is a round numnber divisible by 10 is confusing. What is also confusing is that using Wayback (9th September 2021 – a week before the closing date) a ticket notice on the website stated “118051 tickets remaining”. If that was the case then that’d mean at 1949 tickets were sold and that’d have created a much bigger prize pot.
Winner Visited The House
Anyway back to the winner. Now usually when a winner is announced via social media this is followed by lots of congratulations. Except we spotted something interesting on the Better Chances Facebook page where the winner is thanking the company for her prize. A poster commented that it was “the same Sandy who did the house visit a few months back”. Sure enough on August 2nd Better Chances posted a video showing “happy customers visiting our award house”. And one of those visitors just happens to be Sandy. Unfortunately there’s no transparency with respect to how the draw was conducted so it’s perhaps no wonder the commentator on Facebook questions this as a coincidence.
Things That Make You Go Hmmm
The above demonstrates why win a house prize draws need much better levels of transparency. How can a website advertise they’ve sold nearly 2000 tickets but at the conclusion of the draw their prize pot suggests a lower number. We assume the non-rounded prize amount is possibly due to one admin charge applicable to multiple ticket sales but we can’t verify that. The winner apparently was drawn by “using a random number generator” and “an independent third party Sterling Lotteries” but there’s no evidence of this and without it the fact the winner popped up at the property earlier in the year and is now almost £3000 better off is an intriguing coincidence. The draw should have been videoed and/or conducted live so that there’s no doubt all was above board. We have contacted Sterling Lotteries for comment.
The End Of Better Chances
The information above we think would be of interest to ASA but ultimately even if there is a problem nothing is going to happen. It may well be the case that there’s no issues to answer other than that we’ve highlighted some points with respect to bad competition management. Thankfully Better Chances have decided to call it a day and will no longer be continuing their raffle service. In their last post regarding the end of the site the owners state they were “naive in underestimating the complexity of such business and how much it’s required to build the trust of our customers”. They also claim that they’ve “acted with full integrity and transparency”. This may well be the case but the last act of their final property prize draw does leave some interesting questions that will probably never be answered. Their legacy however will be more doubt on the validity of house raffles as a viable mechanic.